Sir Clive Woodward has given Jonny Wilkinson a welcome boost by backing England's injury-jinxed captain to make this summer's British and Irish Lions tour.
Wilkinson has been plagued with problems since his World Cup heroics in November 2003, with a knee injury currently keeping the Newcastle stand-off on the sidelines.
However, Woodward remains optimistic his former England charge will win his race against time and make the trip to New Zealand.
"I have every confidence that Jonny will be ready to play a part in the tour," Woodward told The Sunday Times.
Woodward insists he will also keep faith with England's RBS 6 Nations squad, declaring "there will still be a decent-sized contingent on tour".
However, while banking on their experience of beating southern hemisphere teams, Woodward has ruled out relying too heavily on one nation.
"The last Lions tour left England with a huge representation and at the time England were playing arguably their best rugby for years. The team was on fire, but the Lions lost," warned Woodward.
"History shows that successful Lions teams are not necessarily dependent on one of the component countries being in outstanding form."
Woodward is also determined to play an attacking brand of rugby against the All Blacks, rather than simply looking to dominate up front.
"To go to New Zealand with players like Gavin Henson, Jason Robinson and Brian O'Driscoll is a mouth-watering prospect, and we will be taking on the New Zealand back division, as good as it is," added Woodward.
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.